I started at Vicarage Street Church School, Nuneaton in 1937, the year of the coronation of King George VI. During the war, the roof of the school was taken off through the impact of bombs which were dropped nearby – just up the road. We had evacuees from London and Norfolk who came to the school and we picked up on their different accents. A company Wrists, Wires and Cables relocated from East Anglia, near Lowestoft and they took over part of a factory in Nuneaton, the workers came and their children came to the school.
We had a coal fire in the corner of the classroom and the caretaker used to bring in the coal – about the size of a bread loaf. The teacher used to sit by the fire. On one occasion the ink in the inkwells froze and we had to come up to the fire to defrost them. The school milk – we had a third of a pint a day – and this also used to freeze and lift off the cardboard lid – it tasted like ice cream!! But it was like that in those days.
Bombed in 1941
When the school was bombed in May 1941, we were evacuated as most classes were to Higham Lane School which was a modern school built in 1939 and we were there for 18 months while the school was repaired. It was quite an eye opener as they had central heating and hot water taps and all the corridors were glazed. I lived at Chilvers Coton and we walked all the way, picking up friends on the way. Walking was a thing you did then (if you caught a bus it was a penny ha’penny return)!
The turkey oak tree, which may have been planted at the same time as the war memorial, stood together outside the school. They are both still there though the school has now gone. The Justice Centre is now on the site of the school.